Fife Flyers fans offered free phone download of legend Doug Smail
Fife Flyers have celebrated a club legend in the latest free download for fans.
Doug Smail is the focus of this week’s #WallpaperWednesday initiative to add a hockey touch to smart phones.
The club has teamed up with the Fife Free Press for this week’s giveaway.
The Press provided the archive image of Smail who made hockey history when he iced in season 1993-94.
Smail joined Flyers direct from the NHL - the first time a player had made such a move in UK hockey.
He was a veteran of 13 seasons in the league, where his CV included spells with Winnipeg Jets, Ottowa Senators, and Quebec Nordiques. He also held the record for the fastest goal scored in the NHL – after a mere five seconds.
Smail impressed everyone with his attitude and approach as he made the adjustment from the world’s greatest league to carrying his own kit on to the bus and stepping on to old-time rinks .
Smail’s pace left players, and fans, breathless.
The goals and wins, quickly flowed, and the fans packed the stand; Teeside Bombers crushed 13-2, Peterborough Pirates 10-1, Bracknell Bees 9-1;
Sheffield Steelers 9-4 and Peterborough again coughed double figures, losing 15-7.
And then a landmark moment - a first ever league win for Fife in Edinburgh.
After 20 false starts – 18 defeats, one draw – they finally savoured victory, and it was Smail who bagged the winner in a truly absorbing 3-2 match. “That,” he said afterwards, “was a hockey game.”
Durham came to town and Smail plundered stats of 3+5 in a 15-3 hammering.
Devils then came to town as champions elect – 14 points clear and one hand on the silverware., Flyers nailed them 12-2 – Smail 5+3 as they served up a staggering 8-0 final period rout.
Wembley beckoned – the perfect stage for Smail to shine. Once again, Cardiff had other ideas, eliminating them 9-5 in the semi-finals.
The game was remembered for two key moments - Ryan Kummu passing the puck back to his netminder and seeing it roll into his own net, and then Smail breaking down the ice while short handed.
One on one with the netminder, he was denied what may have been a game-changing moment as the puck bobbled. It was a cruel way to end what had been a wonderful season.
Smail was a one-season player who left a lasting footprint on the dressing-room and in the stands. His record for short-handed goals still stands to this day.
His reputation was perhaps best summed up by the banner which hung rinkside every match night. It simply read: “First class Smail.”
To download the wallpaper,go to Flyers’ Facebook page.
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Allan Crow, Editor, Fife Free Press